FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


Leave a comment

Will the Real Paleo Diet Stand Up?

The following article from Scientific American, April, 2017 by Peter Ungar gives us a sensible approach to the recent popularity of the so-called Paleolithic Diet. The premise of this diet is based on “the idea that modern humans evolved to  eat the way hunter-gatherers did during the Paleolithic period.” It turns out that this is not a simple matter,

CLICK HERE.


Leave a comment

Probiotics: What We Think We Know?

Yogurt in the Supermarket

In my opinion, there is still not enough research to fully assess the efficacy and/or safety of probiotics.  Probiotic supplements are not regulated by the FDA. It may be prudent to encourage higher intakes of yogurt with live cultures that also provide some essential nutrients – protein and calcium, for example. Check the labels carefully since some yogurts have high sugar contents.

CLICK HERE.


Leave a comment

Super Beets?

Beet Root

Folk lore has placed beets into many Eastern cultures as an excellent liver tonic and blood purifier. Beets contain a very powerful red color from a compound called betacyanin and according to some, claim it is potent cancer fighter. This pigment turns your urine red if enough is consumed – don’t panic -you are not bleeding internally. What are the health benefits of beets and how do they stack up nutritionally?

Beets are good sources of potassium, a vitally important mineral for heart health. We used to consume diets higher in potassium in a potassium-sodium ratio conducive to human health; now this ratio has reversed – and tilted to too much sodium and too little potassium. Potassium is also found in bananas and other fruits,vegetables like potatoes (white and sweet), winter squash, white beans and low-fat yogurt.

Beets are somewhat high in sugar, but not significantly.  Besides they provide us with other needed nutrients. However. diabetics should limit their intake of beets based on their doctor’s advice.

They can be baked or roasted, boiled, steamed, shredded raw and added to salads. The leaves are also nutritious and contain fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C.  Beets can be used in juicing and are best mixed with some combination of carrots, apples, spinach, and ginger.

What is in a serving?

Cooked Beetroot (0.5 cup, cooked, drained, sliced) USDA National Nutrient Database

  • Calories 37
  • Protein 1.4 g.
  • Carbohydrates 8.4 g.
  • Fiber 1.7 g.
  • Potassium 259 mg.
  • Sodium 65 mg.
  • Magnesium 20 mg.
  • Folate 68 DFE

Recently, an advertisement appeared for a product called “Super Beets”: the Circulation Superfood

From their Website, their claims were somewhat vague:

  • Promote Improved Natural Energy
  • Support Healthy Blood Pressure Levels
  • Promoted Improved Stamina

They infer heart health due to its nitrate composition. Dietary nitrates are converted to nitric oxide which may have some cardiovascular benefits.  As far as the Super Beets supplement, the  claim is that 1 shot of Super Beets = 3 Non GMO beets. One canister is $ 39.95.

As with all supplements, there is no FDA approval. However, there is some evidence that beets may be heart healthy and enhance athletic  performance due to its nitrate content. For an excellent review of this topic, click HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Are Chickpeas a Healthy Plant Choice?

 

Plant-based diets are one of the more recent recommendations based on the rising popularity of the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH diet, the MIND diet and the traditional diets of the longest living populations showcased in The Blue Zones, by Dan Buettner.

One category of plants known as pulses or legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) have many health benefits and are an excellent way to shift your diet into more of a plant-based mode.

Chickpeas or garbanzo beans were cultivated from a wild plant found in the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East as far back in history as circa 5000 B.C.E. Chickpeas, are also grown in California, Montana, North Dakota and other states. Historically, about 70 percent of the chickpea crop in these regions was exported each year,  but that has changed because of the rising domestic demand for hummus.

Chickpeas are named because instead of a smooth surface like most beans, they have a bumpy surface that resembles the beak of a chicken. Chickpeas are an excellent source of vitamin B6, folate, fiber, protein, thiamine, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper and zinc.

One cup (canned, drained) USDA Food Composition Database

210 calories

10.7 g of protein

3.7 g. of fat

34 g. of carbohydrate

9.6 g. of fiber (great source of fiber)

Research suggests the following health benefits from chickpea consumption:

  • Lowers blood cholesterol
  • Lowers blood glucose
  • Lowers risk of diabetes type 2
  • Helps with weight loss by adding satiety
  • Is a great snack food

Five-Minute Hummus

Ingredients

  1. 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  2. 1 clove garlic
  3. 1⁄4 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
  4. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  5. 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste; optional)
  6. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  7. kosher salt
  8. 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Directions

  1. In a food processor, puree the chickpeas and garlic with the olive oil, lemon juice, tahini (if using), cumin, and ¾ teaspoon salt until smooth and creamy. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
  2. Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the paprika before serving.


Leave a comment

Change Your Microbiome?

Spherical bacteria

Recent attention to the microbiome has supported the premise that we depend on a vast army of microbes to  protect us against germs, help us digest and assimilate food,  release energy, and produce vitamins. Can we change it to further give us additional health benefits?

CLICK HERE.


Leave a comment

The Lessons from Okinawa

Okinawan Market

Some of my favorite ways to study the effects of diets and lifestyles on health  is to take an objective look at the healthiest cultures on the planet. Although these studies are observational, they study real people living in a real environment. They provide us with invaluable information about how health and longevity are affected by the culture in which we live.  Granted, your diet is only part of the total equation.  And it must be emphasized that these healthy patterns are based on traditional habits of these cultures. When Western-type diets invade these populations, time and time again, their positive health statistics change generally for the worst. Please watch the video and then go out and buy some sweet potatoes.

CLICK HERE.